that old time religion? The Board of
Supervisors observed an unscheduled moment of near-silence last
Monday. The occasion: the pledge of allegiance to the flag. The
assembled personages delivered the words with gusto until they
reached the line, “One nation, under God.” You could have heard
a pin drop.
M. Dennis Sanders offers a partial explanation:
|Some people are SAINTS,
|But don’t feel a need for YOUR or MY
|Why do we condemn them?
|We do not have that right!
He might have added that support for the
separation of church and state is obviously alive and well in City
Top echelon espionage. The
Guardian of May 26 discusses a leaked report, to be published by
the European Parliament this week, of “a shadowy, U.S.-led
worldwide electronic spying network” known as Echelon. Although
the hi-tech eavesdropping system was hatched as a way to identify
industrial spies, the Guardian notes that nary a one has surfaced.
But it has caught a lot of little fish in its ample net.
“One former member of the Canadian intelligence
service, the CSE, claimed that every day millions of emails, faxes,
and phone conversations were intercepted. The name and phone number
of one woman, he said, was added to the CSE’s list of potential
terrorists after she used an ambiguous word in an innocent call to a
“Disembodied snippets of conversations are
snatched from the ether, perhaps out of context, and may be
misinterpreted by an analyst who then secretly transmits them to spy
agencies and law enforcement offices around the world," said
intelligence expert James Bamford.
The “misleading information,” he added, “is
then placed in NSA’s near-bottomless computer storage system, a
system capable of storing 5 trillion pages of text, a stack of paper
150 miles high.”
What was that old warning about loose lips? Better
watch those emails.
Bully for you. Don
Hazen, writing for AlterNet,
says, “The bully is back” in American politics. Watch out, he
warns, for Scary Power, “bullying and brute strength exercised in
the public sphere,” adding that membership in the club is limited:
men of color and women of all hues need not apply.
What is this Scary Power? “Scary Power is the
ability to control the public narrative to frame messages:
globalization benefits all; environmentalists created the energy
shortage; fair trade is a wishful dream. The scary guys’ control
of the narrative also discourages action, isolates people from one
another, and turns them off to engagement in public life. It breeds
cynicism, hopelessness, and apathy.”
Hazen offers a list of the 13 Scariest White Guys,
led by “co-presidents” Bush-Cheney and followed closely behind
by media master Rupert Murdoch and Enron CEO Kenneth Lay. The
surprising Number 13 is Yankee pitcher and headhunter Roger Clemens.
“Close to George Bush senior, whom he visited several times at the
White House, Clemens is also pals with Neil Bush, best known for his
involvement with the failed Silverado Savings and Loan.” Sounds
like Hazen’s a Red Sox fan.